5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday


1. Futures point to Dow, Nasdaq drops ahead of earnings

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Dow futures fell more than 200 points Wednesday. With earnings once again a main focus on Wall Street, Dow components Boeing and Apple are set to release quarterly results before the open and after the close, respectively. Nasdaq futures were also lower. Dow stock Microsoft jumped 3.5% in the premarket after the tech giant late Tuesday reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue.

The Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 closed modestly lower Tuesday but remained near recent record highs. The government reports December durable goods orders at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Federal Reserve ends its two-day January policy meeting Wednesday afternoon, with investors looking to Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for clarity on the prospect of “tapering” or reducing asset purchases.

2. Melvin Capital closed out of GameStop short position Tuesday

A shopper walks toward a GameStop store in Ottawa, Illinois, April 1, 2019.
Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Melvin Capital closed out its short position in GameStop on Tuesday afternoon after taking a huge loss, manager of the fund Gabe Plotkin told CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin. The brick-and-mortar video game retailer, hedge funds’ most-hated stock, was targeted by an army of retail investors who marshaled against short sellers in online chat rooms. GameStop shares have more than doubled this week alone, driving their January gains to 685%. The stock was worth just $6 four months ago.  Shares have swung wildly in the premarket, indicating an over 60% gain to about $240 per share at Wednesday’s open.

3. Boeing, Apple, Facebook, Tesla highlight earnings reports

Shares of Boeing were under some pressure in Wednesday’s premarket trading ahead of the struggling aircraft marker’s fourth-quarter results. Wall Street analysts expect an adjusted per-share loss of $1.80 on revenue of almost $15.1 billion, further detailing the damage of the extended grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max and the pandemic. Ahead of their earnings reports set for release Wednesday afternoon, tech giants Apple and Facebook saw their shares in the green in the premarket but Tesla shares were in the red.

4. Microsoft beats earnings estimates as cloud, ad businesses accelerate

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during the annual Microsoft shareholders meeting in Bellevue, Washington on November 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Jason Redmond (Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)
JASON REDMOND | AFP | Getty Images

Microsoft kicked off Big Tech earnings, delivering fiscal second-quarter profit of $2.03 per share and revenue of nearly $43.1 billion. The company’s Azure cloud computing unit had a particularly strong quarter, as did its advertising businesses at LinkedIn and in search. Microsoft also issued rosy guidance on overall third-quarter revenue. During its second quarter, Microsoft released $500 Xbox Series X and $300 Series S consoles, along with a small version of its Surface Laptop PC called the Surface Laptop Go. The company also said some of its source code had been accessed after it had detected malicious SolarWinds software in its environment.

5. Regular Covid briefings to resume as U.S. works to buy more vaccine

U.S. President Joe Biden holds up a face mask as he speaks about the fight to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the White House in Washington, January 26, 2021.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

President Joe Biden is calling on the nation’s top scientists and public health experts to regularly update Americans about the Covid pandemic, which has claimed more than 425,000 lives in the U.S. Beginning Wednesday, administration experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, will host briefings three times a week.

Biden said Tuesday the U.S. government is working to purchase an additional 200 million doses of Covid vaccines, split evenly between Pfizer‘s shots and Moderna‘s, in a move that could provide enough doses for nearly every American to get fully inoculated by the fall. The Trump administration passed on purchasing more doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the only two so far cleared for emergency use in the U.S. Trump officials instead sought to rely on additional vaccines coming to market.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real time with CNBC Pro’s live markets blog. Get the latest on the pandemic with our coronavirus blog.

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